No D vs. Rogers, Err, Rodgers

With the Packers looking to rebound from Monday's painful defeat, they face an opponent that has had no answers for Aaron Rodgers. While the Lions will challenge the Packers with a stout pass rush, do they have the cover guys to prevent another 300-yard game?

Aaron Rodgers' first 300-yard game came against the Detroit Lions.

His first three-touchdown game? Against Detroit.

His most wins? Against Detroit.

His best career passer rating against an opponent he's faced more than once? Against Detroit.

His most completions, yards and touchdowns? Against Detroit, Detroit and, you guessed it, Detroit.

All of that, and the guy still gets no respect.

Throughout the Lions' Web site this week, their writers have called Rodgers "Rogers."

Spelling notwithstanding, Rodgers has practically made a name for himself during his four starts against the Lions. He's completed 102-of-145 passes (70.3 percent) against them for 1,342 yards, with 11 touchdowns and one interception. With a passer rating of 121.7 in those four games — all 300-yard performances, by the way — his career record against Detroit is 4-0.

The Lions are typically winless — they're off to their fifth 0-3 start in the last 10 seasons. Put that together with Rodgers' mastery against Detroit and Green Bay's 19-game home winning streak against the Lions, and the Packers should get back on track after Monday's bitter defeat.

Just don't tell that to Rogers, errrr, Rodgers.

"Well, you look at the way that Detroit has played, I don't think their record reflects the improvements they've made on both sides of the ball," Rodgers said. "This is an important game for us to be bounce back, but I don't think you can look at the Lions as a winless team and not be definitely impressed with the improvements they've made and realize this is going to be a tough game."

Aaron Rodgers
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
That "tough game" comment might not be hyperbole. For one, the Lions can get after the passer, and the Packers' unbalanced offense had touted first-round pick Ndamukong Suh practically frothing at the mouth during his conference call with Packers beat reporters on Wednesday.

"Without a doubt, you always look forward to going against a team that likes to pass the ball," he said. "That means you get an opportunity to get after that quarterback, that many more opportunities, rather than a team that is pretty much balanced. We're definitely happy as a defensive line to get after him and deal with that and get after him in the pass rush game."

Led by Suh and productive ends Turk McBride and Kyle Vanden Bosch, they're tied for second in the NFL with 11 sacks, nine of which have come from the defensive line. That means coach Jim Schwartz and venerable defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham can get after Rodgers without sacrificing defenders in coverage. That's the exact recipe the Bears followed last week. The Bears didn't sack Rodgers but they were successful in preventing big plays by always having seven defenders in coverage.

The question is, can the Lions duplicate the Bears' success? Cornerbacks Chris Houston and Jonathan Wade aren't exactly top-flight starters, and nickel corner Alphonso Smith is height-impaired at 5-foot-9. And unlike the Bears' corners, who were content to sit back in a zone, Cunningham asks his corners to play press coverage.

"There's three positions in football," Cunningham told reporters in Detroit this week. "One's on offense, that's the quarterback — I don't want to hear about the left tackle because he has a party back there with the chips by the backs and all kinds of people. They say that those guys should be the highest paid players in the league; I think that's a bunch of crap. The guys that should get paid are the quarterbacks and the corners. You're out there on an island by yourself, 85,000 people in the stands (and) they see you when you screw up. To me, a corner's got to have the heart of a lion. He's got to keep coming back, keep fighting."

Jay Cutler, Michael Vick and Brett Favre combined for a 95.0 passer rating against the Lions' defense, and the Packers' offense has more weapons. And they've got Rodgers, who has thrown for 328, 308, 358 and 348 yards in his four games against the Lions.

"He's a good player. He's on his game right now," Cunningham said. "He's being coached outstanding; Mike McCarthy and I have worked together — he's a fine football coach. He's in a rhythm of Bill Walsh — Mike's a disciple of that West Coach offense — and Aaron Rodgers is playing like the West Coast offense quarterbacks, the good ones. There's a lot of pretenders. But I think he's really having a good start of the season and he played well last year. I can't say enough good things about him. He's got a great arm, he can move and he presents a lot of problems."

Including for the writers because of that pesky "D" in his name.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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